KSK

First Flight (Chapter 105 - Knuckling Down)

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1 hour ago, superstrijder15 said:

21 hours is pretty good

Yup, I wasn't really expecting a reply for a day or so because of time zones anyway (one problem with me living on the opposite side of the world).

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KSK, if they haven't already and you're hiding something from us, the KSP 2 people should take you on as the lore person, or at least refrence this world you've built. There are certain fanfics that create a sort of community headcannon, and I feel this is one of those.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, EnderKid2 said:

KSK, if they haven't already and you're hiding something from us, the KSP 2 people should take you on as the lore person, or at least refrence this world you've built. There are certain fanfics that create a sort of community headcannon, and I feel this is one of those.

Why, thank you!

I'd be honoured if they did want to but so far.... (runs away to check email), they haven't been in touch. :)  Mind you, they credited Shaun Esau on their trailer credits, so you never know, although I don't think it's terribly likely. Crediting Shaun also gives me some confidence that they'd do the decent thing and credit me, if they did decide to use any First Flight lore in KSP2. 

More generally though, some kind of in-game lore is one of my big hopes for KSP2, which probably won't come as a surprise to anyone. (Fanfic writer would like more in-game writing shocker. :) ) I do think it shows the kind of attention to detail that makes a game look cared about and it doesn't have to be terribly obtrusive for those that aren't much bothered about such things. BattleTech is a nice example - you can play the game right through without ever reading one bit of lore, but it's all there if you want to, tucked away behind various hyperlinks. A more extreme example is probably Subnautica - the amount of background detail that the devs have put into the various marine plants and beasties is incredible and really makes the exploration side of the game shine. And again - it's all mostly optional.

We're going to be building an interstellar civilization in KSP2 - wouldn't it be nice to know a little bit about it?

I can honestly say that I'd be happy with any sort of in-game lore. Alternate Universe (AU) is a well established style of fanfic, so whatever the official word on the kerbals and Kerbin ends up being, it wouldn't spoil First Flight for me. But, if they do include lore, I would dearly love it to be easily moddable - for obvious reasons I think. :)

And while I really appreciate @EnderKid2s vote of confidence, there are plenty of other writers on this forum who've created great settings for KSP.  @Geschosskopf's Travelling Circus, @Just Jim's Emikoverse, @CatastrophicFailure's Krakenverse, @Kuzzter's Kerbfleet - the list goes on, and my apologies to the many fine writers I've missed out. I don't know if any of them would actually be interested in modding in their work but if any one of them did, it would surely add a whole new depth to the KSP experience. 

Edited by KSK

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It would certainly be extremely hard to balance the fanfics and pick and choose bits of lore. To take the example of the Kraken, Revelations of the Kraken has it as a malevolent force, while TSoES has them as a warlike civilisation which nevertheless isn't Always Evil (tm). And completely differently, Kerbfleet has invisible krakens in a few parts of the story, including the Space Beet (bete de l'espace) and the thing which ripped a Kerbulan warship apart.

What is, then, truly the Deep Space Kraken?

(Answer: All you need to know is that IT EATS SHIPS and ITS COMING TOWARDS YOU, RUN!)

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, fulgur said:

It would certainly be extremely hard to balance the fanfics and pick and choose bits of lore. To take the example of the Kraken, Revelations of the Kraken has it as a malevolent force, while TSoES has them as a warlike civilisation which nevertheless isn't Always Evil (tm). And completely differently, Kerbfleet has invisible krakens in a few parts of the story, including the Space Beet (bete de l'espace) and the thing which ripped a Kerbulan warship apart.

What is, then, truly the Deep Space Kraken?

(Answer: All you need to know is that IT EATS SHIPS and ITS COMING TOWARDS YOU, RUN!)

According to @JakeGrey it’s a spatial anomaly out by Jool. It’s tendancy to fling out any incoming probes at implausible velocities led  the Kerbals to discover warp travel.

Yeah - fic-mixing would be tricky!

Edited by KSK

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, KSK said:

@Geschosskopf's Travelling Circus

Hey, thanks for the mention and glad you like my drivel :)   I must say, I keep forgetting this particular nook of the forum exists.  Now I'll have to read this whole book to balance out karma.  Not that I mind.  I have no doubt it's excellent, given the devoted fans and 64 pages :D 

 

Quote

We're going to be building an interstellar civilization in KSP2 - wouldn't it be nice to know a little bit about it?

I dunno.  If WE'RE building it from the ground up, shouldn't it be us telling the story and thus writing the lore?  I mean, I can see some general ancient background info, such as that originally outlined by @NovaSilisko with the monoliths and all, but I'd be a bit put off if they tried to put a lot of flesh on the Kerbals or their society.  I highly, highly doubt any of that would go well with Circus canon ;) 

But now that you've got me thinking about it, if KSP2 turns out being kinda 4X empire-building, it will have to consider population growth.  Which means somehow modeling Kerbals making babies.....  I sure hope we get some choices in biology, like with other space 4X games...

Edited by Geschosskopf

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3 hours ago, fulgur said:

What is, then, truly the Deep Space Kraken?

(Answer: All you need to know is that IT EATS SHIPS and ITS COMING TOWARDS YOU, RUN!)

Heh, we’re wandering a bit tangentially here, but that was actually more my concept for the Kraken once upon a time, an unspecific embodiment of chaos endemic to all worlds/verses/etc. Tho come to think of it, @KSK‘s verse must be one of the few where it’s not made an appearance (yet?).

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11 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Hey, thanks for the mention and glad you like my drivel :)   I must say, I keep forgetting this particular nook of the forum exists.  Now I'll have to read this whole book to balance out karma.  Not that I mind.  I have no doubt it's excellent, given the devoted fans and 64 pages :D 

I dunno.  If WE'RE building it from the ground up, shouldn't it be us telling the story and thus writing the lore?  I mean, I can see some general ancient background info, such as that originally outlined by @NovaSilisko with the monoliths and all, but I'd be a bit put off if they tried to put a lot of flesh on the Kerbals or their society.  I highly, highly doubt any of that would go well with Circus canon ;) 

But now that you've got me thinking about it, if KSP2 turns out being kinda 4X empire-building, it will have to consider population growth.  Which means somehow modeling Kerbals making babies.....  I sure hope we get some choices in biology, like with other space 4X games...

My pleasure and I'd be curious to know what you make of the story if you did decide to give it a go!

I think they could fit in more than ancient background info but I agree that historical lore should all take place before the game starts, with the players free to tell their own stories after that. That's a fair point about being put off by too much detail about the kerbals too - and yes, I'm not at all sure any official lore would fit with Circus canon! :) 

From what I've read, population growth is planned to be a thing in KSP2. Build a base and its population will grow over time, presumably subject to available habitation space and maybe food supplies. Having different biology choices would be good, although I suspect that the mechanics of population growth will be abstracted away.

@CatastrophicFailure - you know, I'm not at all sure I do mention the Kraken anywhere. There's possibly a couple of allusions to it somewhere of the "good night, sleep tight, don't let the Kraken bite" nursery rhyme variety but that's about it. Maybe it lies sleeping at the bottom of one of the seven smoking hells that occasionally get invoked in times of stress.

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5 hours ago, KSK said:

From what I've read, population growth is planned to be a thing in KSP2. Build a base and its population will grow over time, presumably subject to available habitation space and maybe food supplies. Having different biology choices would be good, although I suspect that the mechanics of population growth will be abstracted away.

Just curious, but where'd you read this?  I really don't do other internet venues besides traditional forums (I spend WAY too much time reading and writing here to visit others).  However, I feel the need to sponge up as much dev leaks and hints as I can right now.

Anyway, sure, you can't have Kerbal porn in an E-rated game so definitely making babies will be abstracted.  And sure, some generalized variables like you mention.  I just hope one of these variables is NOT the male/female ratio.  I mean, everybody knows Kerbals don't really have genders, they have major and minor asexual worker castes :) 

 

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Posted (edited)

It’s not the link I was thinking of but it’s actually a bit more recent with some notes on base building and population. Looks rather interesting all in all.

The title is pure clickbait though - baby Kerbals could grow in their momma’s pouch, marsupial style, be grown in vats, or spawn from asexual worker castes - we shall never know. :)

And your comment about Kerbal exotica, reminds me of a scene in one of my favourite KSP fics, where Kerbals make contact with humans and - in time honoured fashion - learn the local language by decoding TV broadcasts beforehand. Poor Bob gets very confused by some of the, ahem... ‘late night cable’ programming.

Sadly the fic in question was deemed to be  forum unsuitable but it’s not hard to find elsewhere.

Edit. I should also add that the fic in question was entirely safe for work! 

 

Edited by KSK

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Hey folks,

Just as a quick update, the next chapter is ready to go and will be posted tomorrow once I’m back on my desktop machine. Right now I’m on holiday and writing on my tablet, which isn’t the easiest for editing work, so I’ve just been pushing ahead with the chapter after that instead. :) 

 

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As promised - the next chapter is up. 

This one is for @AVaughan and a prescient post from last year. :) 

 

Telegraph Road

Two lines of makeshift, and rather shorter than normal, telegraph poles stretched across the fields in opposite directions. The wires supported by each set of poles ran from a pair of metal pipes standing side-by-side, half-buried in the ground, to the imposing front steps of the Berelgan Institute manor house. A trail of cable clips guided them up the steps, in through the front door and along a hallway to an airy, high-ceilinged office. There, they disappeared into one of the many pieces of electronic equipment piled up on a large equipment cart next to the Berelgan telephone exchange. The unruly collection of breadboard circuits, oscilloscopes, switchboxes and other assorted laboratory equipment made a decided contrast with the brass and carved leatherbark cabinet holding the exchange and the matching desk and chair arranged behind it.

Erlin stood by the door. Neither the need for a walking stick in each hand, nor the tendency of his poncho to ride up on the swathe of bandages around his middle, could dim the enthusiasm in his eyes as he watched Halsy and his research students at work. One of the students plugged what appeared to be a pair of old-fashioned telegraph keys into the largest circuit board and flipped a switch. On an indicator board plugged into the other side of the circuit board, a single green light lit up in response.

“Okay – sending power-on and self-test sequence to BREADFRUIT.” She pressed a button on one of the switchboxes, watching the oscilloscope display flicker into an elaborate train of pulses, collapse to a straight line and then, moments later spike into an answering sequence. A second green light lit up next to the first. “BREADFRUIT is online. Sending sequence to WHITEBEAN.” A pause and then a third light glowed on the indicator board. “And WHITEBEAN is online!”

Halsy made a note in his lab book. “Are they both connected?”

A second student peered around the exchange cabinet. “Yep – hooked up and ready.”

“Good. Let’s start the call from BREADFRUIT.”

The first student consulted a card taped to the equipment cart before tapping out a short sequence on the two telegraph keys. A matching sequence of short and long pulses scrolled across the oscilloscope screen. Erlin heard a clicking noise from the exchange innards and then a second, shorter, pulse sequence scrolled across a second screen. A fourth light glowed on the indicator board next to the other three.

“WHITEBEAN is answering. Switching keys over to chemokine transmission!”

“Very good.” Halsy glanced across at Erlin before turning back to his students. “I think everyone needs to watch this, don’t you?”

“Definitely!” One of the students plugged in a pair of black boxes, one labelled ‘Whitebean’ and the other ‘Breadfruit’. Each box sported two pairs of white and red indicator bulbs, the labels underneath each pair marking them as transmitter or receiver. “Ready!”

The first student tapped one of the telegraph keys, the red ‘transmit’ bulb on BREADFRUIT’s indicator box flashing once in response. There was a brief pause and then the matching ‘receive’ bulb for WHITEBEAN flashed in acknowledgement.

An enormous smile split Erlin’s face as the student tapped the other key, triggering a flash of white light from BREADFRUIT and then from WHITEBEAN. His walking sticks clattered on the parquet floor as he hobbled over to inspect the prototype Kerm telegraph. “Excellent work! Quite excellent!”

“That’s the easy part though,” Halsy said ruefully, gesturing at the heap of equipment on the trolley. “Now we just need to figure out a way of turning all of that into something you can leave in a field for a year.”

Erlin shook his head. “Not yet. Eventually, yes, but for now perfect is the enemy of good enough. Something workable and waterproof is all we need for the field testing. The production version can come later – even if we set out to awaken more Kerm tomorrow, the awakening itself would take several months. Then you can add a couple more months to plant the clover map, teach the newly awakened Kerm to read and then teach him or her to use telegraph code.”

“Speaking of which, how’s Obrinn’s clover doing.”

“Fine. Not quite ready for fibre mapping yet but fine. Obrinn’s enjoying his reading lessons too, although between you and me, I’m glad we’re past the Treebie’s Tricycle stage.”

The eldest student groaned. “Don’t tell me the Kerm like that book too? It’s still my youngest’s favourite. So much so that he’s memorised the wretched thing and corrects me every time I try and make a change.”

Erlin chuckled. “According to Jonton, his Joenie was much the same when she was younger.” His face turned thoughtful. “And, if young Kerm and young kerblets can turn out to be so similar? In a curious sort of way that gives me hope for the future.”

-----------------

Floodlights bathed the great pit in a harsh glare, throwing knife-edged shadows from the ring of temporary gazebos around its perimeter. Plywood formwork lined its walls, anchored at the top by a lattice of cables and bolted to the ragged tops of exposed concrete walls at the bottom. Trickles of sand leaked from the joints in the formwork and cascaded over the rope ladders dangling over the edge.

At the bottom of the pit, a work crew heaved suction hoses into place. Their supervisor checked the copied architectural plans clipped to his board and marked off the hose positions. Satisfied, he stuck a finger in each corner of his mouth and gave a shrill whistle. Above his head, well back from the pit edge, diesel generators clattered into life and sand began disappearing up the hoses with a hissing roar. The work crew, ear defenders pulled over their heads against the noise, walked back and forth, marking out a trench along the edge of the long wall of the pit. Sand tumbled in to fill the trench and was sucked out in turn. A second crew began excavating a similar trench along the other wall, leaving a steadily diminishing hillock between them.

The supervisor watched the sand level creeping downwards, revealing more and more of the concrete wall at the far end of the pit. The head of a door frame came into view, followed by the jambs and the top of the door proper. Beside him, the top of a curved bank of monitors was emerging from the hillock. He gave a sharp double-whistle and the noise from the generators immediately throttling back to a muted rumble. Both work crews gathered around the exposed door frame, pulling off their ear defenders and fitting wand-like extensions over the ends of their hoses, the wands tipped with brushes.

“This end is nearest the emergency exit, so we’ll most likely find a few of them here.”

The workers drew back into a loose semicircle and began skimming away the sand in layers. Then one of them stopped and knelt down, brushing away a circular patch of sand and exposing dark hair. At the sight of his raised hand, the others stepped back to give him room. Not daring to remove any more sand directly, he began clearing a circular trench around the buried head, letting the sand fall away from the distressingly young face, eyes still squeezed tightly closed.

The supervisor flipped over the plans on his clipboard, revealing a sheet of photographs beneath. For a minute he stood in silence, head bowed, before ticking off Desden ‘Des’ Kerman’s name from his list. Then he knelt down with a soft-bristled paintbrush and began clearing the last vestiges of sand from the corners of the scientist’s eyelids.

------------------

Dawn was creeping over the horizon as the laden sling emerged from the funeral pit, the crane operator slewing his load around in a slow half circle before depositing it beside the row of closed body bags. The sling fell open and respectful figures lifted the mortal remains of Macbus Kerman onto yet another dark green bag and, after a minute’s silence, zipped it closed. The weary KNSA team retreated beneath one of the gazebos ringing the pit, watching the sling lift into the air, swing round, and descend out of sight.

At the bottom, a grim-faced work crew stood by the reception desk of the now-cleared Site D lobby. Before them a figure lay sprawled on the floor, one out-flung hand still clutching a pistol, the laboratory coat covering the opposite shoulder crusted with a mixture of sand and dried blood. Beside its head a slumped figure sat cross-legged, dressed in the uniform of a major in the Wakiran Border Security Force, the back of its skull a mummified horror of clotted tissue and bone fragments. It too held a pistol, wedged under its jaw.

Gently, almost tenderly, the KNSA workers lifted Hading Kerman’s body onto the open sling on the floor, standing to attention as the cables tightened, pulling the canvas closed around their once colleague, and lifting him up into the dawn sky. The click of a camera shutter broke the silence and they turned to find their supervisor stretched out on the floor, photographing the Wakiran officer’s corpse. She stood up, shaking her head in acknowledgement of the unspoken question in their eyes. “No, we’re not. This coward doesn’t deserve to go home to his Grove. Stick a tarpaulin over the bjedla and we’ll let Wakiran High Command decide what to do with him.”

-----------------

Elton’s map wasn’t quite what Jonton had been expecting. For all his time spent an-Kerm, at heart he remained a kerbal, with a kerbal's expectation of how things should work. Kerbal maps were tidy affairs of precise lines and easily read symbols that brought order to the landscape they depicted.

This was not a kerbal map.

Irregular splotches of brown spotted the thinly spread carpet of healthy green clover, like raindrops spattered across a sheet of newsprint. For the most part, the splotches had run together into a blobby fern-like pattern but, closer to Elton’s trunks, the criss-crossing trails of dead clover had melded into a single expanse, spattered here and there with curiously geometric patches of green left between overlapping circles of muddy brown.

Enely scratched his head. “None of them are as neat as I thought they would be.”

"No," said Jonton. "It'll be interesting to hear how they fared at the Berelgan." He shrugged. "I doubt they'll have seen much difference but Obrinn's a much younger Kerm so you never know. Anyway, for older Kerm it looks like you don't need to start the map so close to their trunks."

"Where do you think would be the best places to plant the transmitter and receiver?"

Jonton got to his feet. "As far apart as we can. Elton's managed to find a couple of chemokines that shouldn't have too much effect on the local soil fauna and he thinks he can dampen down any effect they do have, but even so, they're bound to do something. For the sake of signal clarity if nothing else, we think it's probably better to keep the damper zones as far away from each other as we can. That should keep their micro-ecologies, as Mallas would call them, from getting mixed up."

Enely nodded. "That makes sense." He gave Jonton a self-deprecating smile. "Or, at least, I'm happy to trust that a former an-Kerm and one of the oldest Kerm on Kerbin know what they're doing." He saw a fleeting shadow behind Jonton's eyes. "When it comes to Kerm micro-ecologies," he added.

"Those, we do know about," muttered Jonton. "I wouldn't be so sure about anything else." He closed his eyes for a moment. "Anyway, apart from putting them as far apart as possible, I'd say we're looking for a branch point on one of the main cross-tree fibres." He held up a hand, thumb and fingers outstretched. "According to Mallas, the working end of the prototype sensors that he's bringing next week are about half a span wide with some room for adjustment. So, we can't go too far out from the trunk but we should have some leeway."

Enely paced out a distance from the dead clover around Elton's trunk. "About here then." He studied the greenery around his feet, searching for a fork in one of the wilted brown trails marking out the buried Kerm fibres. "Here?"

"The next one out, maybe? Yes - that looks better. That'll do." Jonton watched Enely retrieve a handful of red-painted garden canes from the bundle slung over his shoulder and drive them into the ground around the branch point, making sure to keep well clear of the fibre trail. Jonton grimaced. "I suppose we should check the fibre width but I'd rather not disturb them any more than we have to. I wish the Berelgan had come up with a way of finding Kerm fibres without digging for them."

"No." Enely said flatly. "We don't disturb the fibres unless we absolutely have to.  Even then..." He shivered. "I too hope the Berelgan can find a better way of doing this. Come - we should find somewhere for the second sensor to go."

Practice, Jonton reflected, made most things easier, even reading Kerm maps. Finding a suitable location for the second sensor took much less time than the first and it wasn't long before the last red cane had been driven into the ground.

The journey home was a sombre one with Enely wrapped up in his own thoughts and Jonton maintaining a respectful silence. As they approached Gerselle's hut, Enely stopped. "I suppose he volunteered too in a strange sort of way. I shared my story with him, so he must know the risks. But he's never once mentioned them, or been anything less than supportive of the telegraph project."

"I know," Jonton answered. "We've discussed it and I deliberately mentioned your... story as well. More than once in fact but every time he seemed indifferent." Jonton raised a hand. "Not to your suffering - I sensed that very clearly - but more as if there simply wasn't any possibility of the same thing happening to him."

"Let us hope so." Enely opened the front door and went inside. Jonton cocked his head at the sounds coming from the living room. Puzzled, he followed Enely inside to find Meleny's family, along with Ferry and Fredlorf, sitting around the television with Joenie.

The screen showed a double line of black-clad kerbals marching down City Avenue carrying a plain wooden casket on their shoulders. A lone kerbal walking behind them carried a banner bearing the emblem of the Wakiran Border Security Force. Jonton watched two lines of similarly black-clad figures emerge from the crowds lining the Avenue and fall into perfect lockstep with the marchers. The casket was passed forward from shoulder to shoulder, unburdened kerbals peeling away pair by pair from the back of the lines. Finally, the Wakiran banner was furled, its bearer stepping to one side and another figure, carrying the banner of the Firesvarn Combined Deterrent Forces, taking her place.

Jonton glanced at the news ticker scrolling down the left-hand side of the screen, a look of quiet approval settling over his face. He walked over to stand behind Joenie's chair, hands clasped in front of him.

The casket proceeded down City Avenue to the Capital building, representatives from the armed forces of each of six Regionalities of Kerbin taking their turns as pallbearers. Then, at the gates to Capital Park, it was handed off to a final group of mourners, the banner carried behind them bearing the flag of all Kerbin alongside the crest of the Kerbin Nuclear Standards Agency. They carried the casket through the park to the front of the Capital building itself, and set it down on a stand set up in front of a long table, a thick sheaf of paper stamped with the Seal of the Twelve Pillars, and a single microphone placed at its exact centre.

Behind the table, twelve figures, their hands also clasped respectfully in front of them, watched the KNSA delegation place the casket on its stand and step back before taking their seats with the other pallbearers. President Maller of Veiid stepped forward.

"Good Kerbals, we stand divided."

Maller adjusted his microphone. "Divided both by Regionality and by more ancient loyalties, we wage a bitter and bloody war. A war for which we have all paid dearly, in the lives of loved ones lost fighting for what they believed to be right. And yet the price could have been uncountably higher." Maller glanced at the cameras. "For, in one terrible moment, we faced the spectre of nuclear science on the battlefield. A tool of peace twisted into weapons capable of defiling the very lands, for which so much was sacrificed, with radioactive poisons."

The Veiidan President's gaze swept over the rows of pallbearers. "But we have been given a second chance. Our worst nightmare was averted by the steadfast courage and dedication to duty of one kerbal who, along with too many of his companions and colleagues, paid the ultimate price for that dedication."

"The reasons for the war are many and varied but now is not a time for recriminations, nor for apportioning blame. Now is a time for seizing the gift we have been given and using it wisely for the benefit of all. And so, I speak for all the Twelve Pillars, when I say; this we pledge to do and we pledge to start today." Maller gestured at the sheaf of paper in front of him. "Before you lie the Hading Accords. Drawn up by this Council and named for the kerbal who gave us this second chance, they commit us all to a permanent ceasefire and the renewed search for a peaceful solution to the Kerm crisis."

Maller drew a silver pen from his pocket. Moving the microphone to one side, he signed his name on the first sheet of the sheaf. "For the kerman of Veiid, I Maller, do hereby sign these Hading Accords." He put the pen down and stepped to one side.  Chief Ambassador Obmy was the next to step forward and sign.

"For the kermol of Veiid, I Obmy, do hereby sign these Hading Accords."

One by one, with the eyes of the world upon them, the other ten Pillars signed the Accords. Finally, Maller stepped forward again and affixed a wax seal beneath the twelve signatures.

"As it has been written by these Twelve Pillars, so let it be done. And may you all give us the wisdom to find our course."

------------------

Jonton scooped away the last handful of soil, exposing a cluster of nodules on the ancient Kerm fibre. He fitted a U-shaped jig over the cluster and marked the position of its two holes before putting it to one side. Hardly daring to breathe, he drove two mounting pegs into the soil, one on either side of the fibre.  “Ready for the emitter.”

Mallas lowered the slender tube, with its matching U-shaped tip, into the trench. Jonton fitted the tip lugs over the mounting pegs. “Down a little – and hold it there.” He scattered a layer of soil over the fibre. “Bit more… and stop.” Jonton shovelled soil back into the trench, packing it around the emitter base. “That should hold it.” He stood up, watching as Mallas unfolded three tripod legs from around the tube and locked them into place. The two kerbals set to work backfilling the trench until the only thing marking the excavation site were a ragged patch of bare earth in the midst of the clover, out of which the emitter tube with its hemispherical cap sprouted like a bizarre metal mushroom.

Jonton wiped the sweat out his eyes. “Okay, that’s both of them. Time to hook them up and see if they work.”

“I suppose so,” Mallas dragged his gaze away from the line of telegraph poles marching across the fields from Jonton’s Keeper hut to the nearby village. “This part always makes me nervous,” he confessed. “As the old saying goes, in theory, there’s no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there usually is.” He picked up the length of sheathed cable which stretched back to a junction box mounted on the nearest pole and inspected the plug on its end. Satisfied, he knelt down beside the emitter tube and pushed the plug into its socket under the hemispherical cap, before tightening up the threaded tube that secured it in place and sealed it against the elements. “We’ll need to cover the cabling but that can wait until everything’s working.”

“Yes.” Jonton handed Mallas a reel of cable from his backpack and watched as he plugged one end into the emitter cap. They lugged the reel over to the second sensor, already emplaced on the other side of Elton's trunk, taking it in turns to carry the reel or pay out the cable. By the time they reached the transmitter tube, Jonton's back was aching from walking doubled over. He arched his shoulders, trying to relieve the knot of tension at the base of his neck, whilst Mallas plugged in the transmitter and tested its connection to the receiver.

"Well everything seems to be working - as far as I can tell. Only one real way to find out though."

Gathering their tools, they walked back to Jonton’s hut in silence. Jonton staring at Elton’s main trunk emerging from the roof, his mind back at the exposed fibre in the trench, sensor tube descending towards it. He opened his front door and waved Mallas inside, watching as the other made a beeline for the telephone.

“Halsy? It’s Mallas here. Yes – we’ve just finished setting up. How’s the installation going at your end? Excellent – we’ll be in Communion and waiting for his call.” The handset rattled on its cradle as Mallas turned to Jonton, eyes bright. “They’re all set. Halsy is on his way over to Erlin’s Grove now.

Jonton took a deep breath and willed his voice to remain steady. “In that case we’d better get ready ourselves. He led the way into his sleep room, relieved to find the air no more cinnamon-laden than normal. Mallas lay down on the nearest bunk bed and looked at him questioningly.

“Go ahead. He’ll be expecting both of us.” Jonton watched Elton’s leaves closing around Mallas’s head before lying down on his own, slightly musty smelling, bed and propping a second pillow under his neck. He glanced at the ceiling, unable to make out any tension in Elton’s branches or unusual changes to his leaf clusters. Unreassured, he clenched his toes and lifted his head towards the waiting leaves.

<good afternoon, Jonton>

Good afternoon, Elton. Good afternoon, Jonelle. Ahh, I see that Enely and Joenie are with us too.

<of course. Where else would they be. Hello, Dr Mallas>

Hello, Jonelle. Mallas’s mental voice sounded slightly overwhelmed. Jonton sent him a burst of reassurance before tuning his thoughts to Elton’s presence.

Are you all right?

<I am. The sensors are in place?>

Yes. I think Mallas and I set them up correctly but… Jonton sent him a fleeting image of an exposed Kerm fibre lying in the soil, leaking ichor.

<you were afraid of killing me?> Elton's blunt reply jolted through Jonton's mind. <we spoke of the risks and I accepted them. If either of my fibres get infected beyond my ability to heal you will cut away the infected part and seal the cut ends with fire> Sensing his Keeper's revulsion, Elton softened his mental tone, pushing his own trepidation firmly to one side. <Enely’s young Kerm had been uprooted and traumatised. I was neither. My fibres have endured for centuries and Professor Erlin’s sensors were well designed. I think you would have found it difficult to hurt me with them>

All the same.

In reply, Elton’s presence came forward, surrounding Jonton with warmth and light <do not fear, First of my Keepers. All is well. All will be well>

Six presences, four kerbal and two Kerm, floated above Elton and Jonelle’s shared mindscape. Undercurrents of tension, which Elton took care to damp, swirled from link to link as they waited for a signal from the Berelgan. Then, amidst a sudden wave of excitement, a string of coloured dots appeared before them. For a moment, Jonton looked at the dots in confusion before realising that one colour represented a dot and the other a dash. Long hours of practice proved their worth as he began to automatically assign letters to groups of dots and then letters to words.

Incoming. Call.

The string of telegraph code faded out, replaced by Elton’s reply.

Ready.

There was a long pause and then new clusters of dots appeared in fits and starts.

Hello. Is. anyone. there. This. is. Obrinn.

The answer flared across the mindscape and into history.

Hello. Obrinn. My. name. is. Elton.

 

Now a long time ago came a man on a track.
Walking thirty miles with a sack on his back.
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best.
Made a home in the wilderness.

He built a cabin and a winter store.
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore.
The other travellers came walking down the track.
And they never went further, no they never went back.

Then came the churches. Then came the schools.
Then came the lawyers, then came the rules.
Then came the trains and the trucks with their load.
And that dirty old track... was the Telegraph Road.

Dire Straits:  Telegraph Road.

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It has been so very long since this started that I'm starting to forget things.  I think at one point someone made a map of all of the countries over a map of Kerbin.  Does that exist?  Can it be re-posted?  It would also be *swell* if someone could explain a few things:

1. Who (whom?) is at war with who(m)?

2. Which country is the KSC in?

3. Who are the aggressors in each conflict? (That is, who started it?)

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Posted (edited)

The map is basically borrowed from here although I've made a few changes along the way, the main one being to rename Young Kolus as Wakira. The border between Kolus, Wakira and Firesvar is also a bit different in-story.

The KSC is in Kolus and the Capital and Berelgan Institute are on the Itaalic Isthmus. And yeah - that's no longer a part of the in-game map, although I believe it's been replaced by a handful of islands.

As for the war, the short answer is almost everyone is, or has been, at war with everyone else. As a practical matter, the main fronts in the war are between Kolus and Doren, and between Kolus, Firesvar and Wakira.  There's also an uneasy truce between Veiid and the Spierkan-Forseti Confederacy (basically the grey areas on the map). Both of them are relatively minor powers and are desperately trying to avoid getting into a shooting war with Doren. For their part, the Doreni are more concerned with Kolus and have no real desire to open up a second front with Veiid.

It's also an odd sort of war, in that all the participants are equally responsible and equally to blame. Thus there's no single aggressor that kicked the whole thing off.

It all started with the Kerm Seeding. As you'll recall, the Kerm only seed every few centuries, and each seeding has, historically, driven a wave of kerbal expansion. This time around there's almost nowhere left to expand into (on Kerbin at least) which triggered a bit of a crisis.

The war itself, began with a series of border skirmishes as each Regionality tried to grab whatever uninhabited land it could to plant new Kerm Groves on. Those skirmishes grew steadily more acrimonious but the two tipping points that escalated them into all out war were down to the pro-Kerm group, the Children of Kerbin.

One solution to the Kerm crisis that had been tried was simply to put any new Kerm seeds in cold storage until a place could be found for them, on or off Kerbin. The Children were violently opposed to this* and broke into the cold storage facility on Veiid to liberate the seeds. They then proceeded to plant unauthorised Groves wherever they could, including Firesvar. Somewhat understandably, Firesvar blamed Wakira for failing to stop the Children's incursions and, eventually, declared formal war on them.

Even then, the situation may have been retrievable were it not for a second incident in Veiid. Following a strategy from the previous Kerm seeding, the Veiidans were in the process of planting a chain of lightly overlapping Groves around their eastern seaboard. Since deliberately uprooting a Kerm was traditionally anathema to any kerbal, the Veiidans reasoned that their chain of Groves would provide a de-facto barrier, blocking access to the rest of their continent.

Unfortunately, the Children, or at least the more fanatical Children didn't get the memo. They attempted to uproot a Veiidan Kerm to make room to plant one of their own seeds - and found out the hard way that the Kerm are not merely defenseless trees. It was well known that the Kerm possess an array of sub-surface vines or tendrils - the kerbals had made medical use of those so-called 'healing vines' for centuries. What had been forgotten was that the healing vines also provided a lethally effective defense against predators.

The combination of breaching the ultimate taboo (uprooting Kerm) and outright fear of the rediscovered Kerm defenses (the images of dead kerbals impaled on 'healing' vines were fairly effective at stoking that fear), proved to be the final tipping point that escalated the various Kerm conflicts into all-out war.

 

So yeah, not a simple war and one that's been a long time in the telling, so I'm not surprised that folks are losing track.  Hopefully the above summary will help a bit. 

 

* Kerm rights on Kerbin provoke much the same intensity of feeling as abortion rights in the US. I mention this purely to provide context for the Children and would kindly ask that any readers refrain from side-tracking this thread into any discussion of the rights or wrongs of the pro-life movement. Thanks.

 

Edited by KSK

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You're welcome!

It's kind of reassuring to find that I've still got everything straight in my own head. :) 

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Yet another moment where I find myself knowing what ur talkin' about, coz as a technician I don't only know what an oscilloscope is, I've used one many times too!

Dunno if u thought this far, but I'm kinda curious wether the oscilloscopes in ur story are old ones with CRT screen or modern ones with LCD screen?

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I confess that I hadn't thought that far but from a quick check on Wikipedia, it seems that digital oscilloscopes started becoming common in the early 90s. Assuming that a digital oscilloscope is what you had in mind when you're talking about a modern LCD one (bear with me here, I'm not familiar with the terminology) then, in-story,  they're probably just starting to appear on Kerbin but they're pretty cutting edge and expensive.

Given that the Berelgan is an agricultural / ecological research institute, they're unlikely to have the latest and greatest electronic gear. As seen in-story, they're also heavily focused on Kerm micro-ecology and trying to figure out the chemical signals that the Kerm use to control their environment. On that basis, most of their tech budget is probably going to be spent on analytical equipment such as mass spectrometers, gas chromatographs and the like.

Therefore, I'm thinking that Halsy and his team are probably using an older model (but decent quality) analogue oscilloscope with a CRT screen.

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14 hours ago, KSK said:

herefore, I'm thinking that Halsy and his team are probably using an older model (but decent quality) analogue oscilloscope with a CRT screen.

the fun kind that you can draw pictures with!

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On 9/2/2019 at 4:11 AM, EnderKid2 said:

the fun kind that you can draw pictures with!

Indeed, that's why I hoped to hear they're analog CRT ones :D

Tho the pictures u can draw on them look more like this:

I've been looking to get my own for years but never had enough money to spare for that. That said, ur mentioning of oscilloscopes prompted me to look up some prices and both analog and digital ones can be acquired for relatively little money right now. And again I don't have said money to buy one now angrywku1m.gif

Edited by DualDesertEagle

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hey, the pictures can be as complex as you want, as long as you can figure out the correct pair of signals to input (x/y). It then takes a bit more work to make those signals also be the left and right stereo tracks of a piece of music.

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On 9/3/2019 at 8:14 PM, EnderKid2 said:

hey, the pictures can be as complex as you want, as long as you can figure out the correct pair of signals to input (x/y). It then takes a bit more work to make those signals also be the left and right stereo tracks of a piece of music.

So the pics in the video u linked are in fact real and not fake!?

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Heya,

Glad that the oscilloscope struck a chord with you @DualDesertEagle!

And, on a somewhat different note, I'm putting out this shameless plug for @Oraldo revak's The Stranger cinematic. As you'll probably gather from the comment I left, I thought it was excellent and I'd recommend it to anyone reading along on this thread.

Cheers,

KSK.

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@DualDesertEagle yes, the pictures can be as complex as you want, with the limitation that they have to be made out of one continuous path. Think etch-a-sketch. That specific video was computer-generated (for the ease of recording the visuals), but if you plug that music into an ocilloscope correctly, you will get the gears and F1 car.

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22 hours ago, KSK said:

Heya,

Glad that the oscilloscope struck a chord with you @DualDesertEagle!

And, on a somewhat different note, I'm putting out this shameless plug for @Oraldo revak's The Stranger cinematic. As you'll probably gather from the comment I left, I thought it was excellent and I'd recommend it to anyone reading along on this thread.

Cheers,

KSK.

How could it not have? As the tech freak that I am I'm basically hard-wired to like stuff like those analog oscilloscopes. And on top of that learning about those Lissajous images was part of my apprenticeship as a technician.

16 hours ago, EnderKid2 said:

@DualDesertEagle yes, the pictures can be as complex as you want, with the limitation that they have to be made out of one continuous path. Think etch-a-sketch. That specific video was computer-generated (for the ease of recording the visuals), but if you plug that music into an ocilloscope correctly, you will get the gears and F1 car.

Ok, that's effin' awesome!

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